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Race and Quotas

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: November 2, 2001
Latest Update: December 26, 2005

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Index of Topics on Site Quotas in Jury Selection

Talia Baran, UWP, was creative enough to ask her questions of Prof. Gordon Fellman himself. It's important for us to reach out beyond our local resources. Most people are delighted that you are reading their material and thinking about the issues that concern them. And within our local infrastructure we tend to think more locally than we do in a cosmopolitan manner. When we encourage our alumni, who have scattered to many parts of the world, and other resource people both within and outside our local communities, we get a more balanced picture of how the issues that matter to us are seen by others. Explore. It's good for you. jeanne

One day in October 2001, Talia Baran wrote wrote to Dr. Fellman:

Dr. Fellman,

I am currently taking a class at the University of Wisconsin Parkside and our main text is Rambo and the Dalai Lama. I must say that your book is quite interesting. We are currently doing an assignment called Justice on the Bench, and I was wondering about your take on a question. Some have suggested that a certain number of seats on each jury be set aside for racial minorities. How do you feel about this particular question? I myself have mixed feelings.

Talia Baran
Junior Criminal Justice Major

On Friday, October 26, Professor Fellman wrote:

Hello Talia Baran,

I guess I have mixed feelings on that too. It seems to me that ideally juries would represent the larger population by being a cross-section of it. I wonder if minorities are dejected by peremptory challenge more than whites. I just don't know much about the situation. Maybe a quota system would be a good idea; maybe just a more conscientiously represenstative selection process. This is probably not a very helpful response. As you can imagine, my tendency is to look for the mutualistic solution. In this case, I'd also look at alternative justice systems. Do you know about the restorative justice movement? It is a major alternative to the adversarial legal system the jury is part of.

Best wishes, and thanks for writing,
Gordon Fellman

On Friday, November 2, 2001, jeanne responded:

What a great idea, Talia, to write to Professor Fellman. And what a great suggestion on his part that we turn to restorative justice for some alternative solutions to the problems presented by jury selection in our present legal approach. Look at On Definitions of Distributive and Restorative Justice

Sometime later Talia wrote:

Professor Fellman: you had stated in your response that a quota system may be a good idea. Why do you feel this would be a good idea?

Talia Baran

On Wednesday, October 31, 2001, Dr. Fellman responded:

I feel I am on shaky ground here. IF non-white jurors are chosen in proportions less than theirs in the local population, and if they are asked off juries by peremptory challenges in proportions greater than theirs in the local population, then I would suspect some kind of discrimination is going on. That is what I have in mind.

One of your colleagues, a Brian, asked me questions similar to yours. Will you please share my replies with him?

Thank you.
Inquire further if you'd like.
Prof. Fellman